12390453262?profile=RESIZE_710xBoynton Beach residents, city commissioners and city staff join for a symbolic march from city hall to Sarah Sims Park to burn copies of obsolete segregationist policies that once divided the city’s white and Black neighborhoods. Photo provided by City of Boynton Beach

Boynton Beach celebrated Black History Month with an unusual ceremony designed to erase past segregationist policies that split the city into Black and white neighborhoods.

At their Feb. 20 meeting, city commissioners voted unanimously to remove three ordinances — unenforced but still on the books — to bring a sense of renewal to the city.

Two 1924 ordinances established “The Negro District within the Town of Boynton, Florida” and “The White District within the Town of Boynton, Florida.”

Another, passed in 1933, made it illegal for any person over 18 to “loiter, wander, stroll or be about or in the public streets, parks, public or other places, on foot, in a vehicle or any kind whatsoever,” in the other race’s neighborhood after 9 or 10 p.m., depending on the month.

Such rules were known as sundown laws and were used to enforce segregation, especially in the South. 

On Feb. 24, residents, city commissioners and city staff joined for a symbolic march from City Hall to Sara Sims Park, where they burned copies of the ordinances and then enjoyed music and food during a block party.

— Tao Woolfe

 

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